Organisational Semiotics Community Home


Organisational Semiotics (OS) is an emergent discipline whose purpose is to study the nature, characteristics, functions and effects of information and communication within organisational contexts. The contribution of OS to the understanding, analysis, modelling, design and implementation of organisational and technical information systems has attracted much attention of researchers and practitioners from many subject areas.

Organisational Semiotics may be seen as a discipline that helps us to understand the inter-workings and interactions among individuals within society, and also between human beings and technology. OS opens up prospects for scientific theory building and provides a means of gaining insight into organized behaviour and enacted social practices, in the presence and absence of various technologies. The broad issues that concern the researchers in this field are philosophical, social and technical, studied through existing and newly developed semiotic theories and methods.

A strong motivation behind this research stems from the recognition that the social study of the impact of IT impact does not address the fine detail of how information functions within and between organisations. The analysis and design of information systems employs methods for solving the practical problems preceding software engineering, but without offering adequate scientific foundations for them. Such methods have not been appropriate for addressing many of the problems caused by the rapid growth of global communications with its effects on business, government, the economy and politics. However, a semiotic perspective can accommodate the individual and the social, the human and the technical, and intra-company and inter-company interactions, at the level of detail that is required for studying, modelling, designing and engineering organisational and technical systems.

The first International Workshop on OS was held at Twente in 1995 and led to the formation of a research community focused upon this new discipline. Since then, a series of International Workshops and Conferences on Organisational Semiotics has become the key focal point every year for participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds to discuss together the development and the state of the art of their theoretical and practical work. The first eight meetings were called International OS Workshops, but in view of the growth of interest and participation in these events, in 2006 the OS community decided to rename their annual meeting the International Conference on Organisational Semiotics.

                                                                          Send your comments, errors and suggestions about this web server to